August 13, 2005

Televised Trials

In today's Opinion Journal's Review & Outlook, there is an editorial titled A Show for the Whole World to See  that discusses televising high profile criminal trials, such as one of the features of Court TV involves. In certain cases, such as Saddam's trial, I believe it is a good idea. I think that for the many people whose lives have been touched by the crimes of such persons, watching their trials can bring closure of a kind. But I'm with the author of the column on the idea that the televised trials should be just that, trials, unsaturated by media circus spectacle.


The prospect of actually watching Saddam in the dock raises a range of emotions. They include fear and distaste at the thought of a media circus injecting elements of entertainment and even farce into a grave proceeding about mass murders and extermination campaigns that killed thousands. At the end of each televised day, would we be subjected to chit-chat about Saddam's hairstyle and what he wore to court?


That kind of stuff really irritates the hell out of me, I can't help it.


It seems that the media, rather than just reporting something, has to milk it for every last nuance in order to fill up their pages or their broadcast segments, like "there's nothing else to say, but we'll say something anyway."  I recall the Gary Condit/Chandra Levy affair and the milking it received, there was simply nothing more to report, so the media started picking away at it by publishing outside "expert" opinions and so forth. I believe what put that affair to bed was 9/11, as a matter of fact.


Back on topic:


The first televised trial seen globally began in 1961, when Adolf Eichmann, who oversaw the deportation of millions of Jews to the Nazi death camps, entered an Israeli courtroom. The case, which ended with Eichmann's hanging in 1962, engendered controversy, partly because he had been kidnapped in Argentina by Israeli agents. Ultimately, though, the trial stands as a triumph, and not only of final justice. It was a major contributor to the enduring record of a terrible era. Since then, there have been other famous attempts at reckoning, but none so revealing. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's untelevised U.N. trial at The Hague heads toward a fourth year with no resolution. Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was shot in 1989 after a two-hour tribunal that left no record of his crimes. East Germany's Erich Honecker was allowed to retire peacefully to Chile after a German court ruled that he was too ill with cancer to continue the "cruelty" of a trial. With Saddam, there is now an opportunity to see justice done, to see what terrible things can happen without the rule of law. And then, with the evidence before our eyes, to imagine what future atrocities may be prevented in countries that choose the path Iraq has now taken.


My grandparents were Jewish immigrants, he from the Ukraine, she from Poland. My grandmother had lost her two brothers, after whom I was named, to the Nazis. I grew up in their house in New York.

When the Eichmann trial was televised, the house became dead quiet save for the trial installments, my grandparents sitting together in rapt attention before the T.V. When it was over and the monster was sentenced to hang, they seemed to have a new buoyance about them as though a great weight had been lifted somewhere within them.




I believe that televising Saddam's trial(s) would have much the same effect on Iraqis who lost loved ones to or were themselves victimized by the Saddam regime. It might also be a good medium for showing Americans and other westerners who are bombarded by anti-Bush MSM misinformation and Michael Moore/Move-On style treason the real reasons why we overthrew Saddam Hussein and freed Iraq. 

Posted by Seth at 12:45 AM | Comments (3) |

August 11, 2005

You've Got To Read This

One of the columnists I  never miss is Suzanne Fields. Every adjective I could possibly apply to her column is glowing.

This one is a must-read :

That's what the culture wars are all about. Men and women will sometimes die for an abstract idea, but it's usually the specific way of life they love and their love for it that drives them resolutely into harm's way.


Read the column, it's definitely in the masterpiece class.

Posted by Seth at 07:38 PM | Comments (2) |